Can you stay fit when you are on vacation? A growing trend in the hotel/resort industry is to offer fitness programs, such as Yoga, as part of the experience. “Yoga is becoming a must have amenity on the order of internet access,” according to Chekitan Dev, a professor of marketing at Cornell University School of Hotel Administration.
This is good news. Staying fit (or starting a fitness program) is probably the last thing on your mind when you head off on a vacation. But this is probably the ideal time to make a change, reduce your stress level and get started on a fitness program.
I just got back from two weeks in Jamaica where I was the guest Fitness Professional for the Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa in Montego Bay, Jamaica. (That’s me in the photo on the top step leading an Aquafit class.) It was great to experience the warm sun and it was fun to work with the guests at the resort.
My experience tells me that you can go to a resort and do the relaxing fun things you like to do on a vacation (sit by the pool or on the beach, read a book, enjoy the food, take a tour, enjoy an evening cocktail with family and friends) and still participate in some fun fitness activities.
Here are some guidelines that you can follow to see if the vacation facility you are choosing will be fitness friendly:
- Look for a facility with a range of fitness activities to accommodate your tastes and the preferences of your family members. You may like going to the fitness centre to do weights (or mix weights with group activities), some family members may prefer group activity classes such as Yoga, Tai Chi, spinning, aquafit, step, etc, while the younger members of your family may want to participate in games such as volleyball, tennis and basketball. For many people the key recreational activity while on vacation is golf. But many times golfers like to supplement their golf with other fitness activities. Many resorts realize that they need to offer a wide range of fitness programs and activities, and I expect to see more of this in the future.
- Ask if the facility has a Fitness Professional. Some have resident Fitness Professionals. A growing trend is to invite Fitness Professionals from different parts of the world to run the programs at a resort. That was my arrangement with the Hilton Rose Hall in Jamaica. Just keep in mind that the quality of Fitness Professional can vary. The industry has not figured out how to establish quality controls just yet.
- Check the schedule for the activities. I noticed that morning classes are popular and that when the mid day sets in, people are reluctant to participate in a class. I am not sure why that happens. My guess is that when the afternoon comes around people are focussed on relaxing by the pool. My suggestion is to ask about the timing of the classes and see if they are concentrated in the morning.
- Check on how demanding the activities are. Several years ago I was the Fitness Professional at a small resort in Montego Bay and the Power Walk was a leisurely stroll along the beach. This time, at the Hilton Rose Hall in Montego Bay, the Power Walk was a rigorous 5 kilometre hike of the back nine on the adjoining golf course. I had to advise several guests (who I was concerned about) that the Power Walk may be too strenuous.
If you come across any resorts that you think are doing interesting things in the area of fitness and wellness, drop me a line or comment on this blog post. Maybe I will see you at a resort in the near future!